Many people ask “What is speaking in tongues?” This is a lingering question, even if they think they know what it is. There are many congregations that even say that you are not filled with the Holy Spirit if you don’t speak in tongues.
If you have had any of these questions or concerns, hopefully they will be cleared up after you have read this.
The first places we can look are those scriptures that are the most popular.
4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
If we read these verses we see that the ability to speak in tongues was given to the devout Jews (Israelite’s) on the Day of Pentecost (which is the end of the feast of weekes). We are told they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Another key thing to note is the manner of the tongues that were spoken, we are told that the tongues were different languages, which were spoken by the peoples from different places in the region at the time.
This is important because people today in many different church congregations tend to speak in tongues, that nobody around can translate or even understand.
We clearly find here that the tongues spoken when the apostles in the scriptures were filled with the Holy Spirit, were different language of the peoples that had traveled from different regions.
Tongues of Angels
Speaking in the tongues of Angels is a firm belief by many, and I often wondered about it my self. The most popular scripture I have found which people use to support it, is
1 Corinthians 13:1
1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
As we can see from Paul’s letter to his congregation in Corinthians, he says that he spoke in “tongues of men and of angels”. At first glance this may appear to prove the claim of the incomprehensible tongues people are speaking today.
But lets take a closer look at the wording. First Paul says he speaks with the tongues of men, this basically means he spoke other languages, that he taught himself.
Secondly he says tongues of Angels. To explain this further research should be done which I will discuss. But in basic terms, tongues of Angels would amount to being given the ability to speak a tongue (language) That the speaker was unable to previously speak, until they were given it by the angel.
This is demonstrated in Acts 2:4-13. Another thing to consider is that the word angel basically means messenger, of which the Holy Spirit clearly is. This is can be verified when we read the Messiahs words,
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
A more in-depth look at tongues
Acts 2:4-13 is a clear example of an angel (Holy Spirit) teaching men new tongues. We can also find this being done if you look in the book of Jasher. This book is mentioned in the scriptures and should be required reading.
Evidence of this books relevance can be found in the following places:
“Is not this written in the Book of Jasher?“–Joshua 10:13
“Behold it is written in the Book of Jasher.”–II. Samuel 1:18
So let us look in the Book of Jasher to see where the tongue of an angel (messenger) was given. The account in questions involves Joseph one of the sons of Jacob (Israel).
In this instance Pharaoh was to make Joseph ruler of Eygpt, but the officers of Egypt reminded Pharaoh that the ruler should be versed in all the tongues (languages) in Egypt…
14 And the angel roused him from his sleep, and Joseph rose up and stood upon his legs, and behold the angel of the Lord was standing opposite to him; and the angel of the Lord spoke with Joseph, and he taught him all the languages of man in that night, and he called his name Jehoseph.
15 And the angel of the Lord went from him, and Joseph returned and lay upon his bed, and Joseph was astonished at the vision which he saw.
16 And it came to pass in the morning that the king sent for all his officers and servants, and they all came and sat before the king, and the king ordered Joseph to be brought, and the king’s servants went and brought Joseph before Pharaoh.
17 And the king came forth and ascended the steps of the throne, and Joseph spoke unto the king in all languages, and Joseph went up to him and spoke unto the king until he arrived before the king in the seventieth step, and he sat before the king.
So we see similar to the day of Pentecost that Joseph was taught the Egyptians language, just as the devout Jews spoke the languages of men taught by the angel (Holy Spirit).
What we can note which is important, is that in both accounts where tongues were given, there was a necessary reason. In Acts, it was a testimony to all nations of people, and similarly in Jasher it was a testimony to the Egyptians, who were a ruling force in the world at the time!
We also should not negate the fact that the language(s) were always able to be translated by other men.
For further reading Jasher 49:8-17
I hope this has helped you clear up this topic in regards to the initial question what is speaking in tongues?
Peace and Shalom